Be Our Guest's Wishes of a Magic Kingdom - Matthew Cooper Photography
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Be Our Guest Wishes of a Magic Kingdom

Be Our Guest’s Wishes of a Magic Kingdom

Today’s shot isn’t necessarily anything that hasn’t been done before but I felt the need to try something different for Wishes that wasn’t from in front of Cinderella Castle but wasn’t so crazy that it would be foolish to try. Seeing also as I had Be Our Guest dinner reservations roughly an hour and a half before Wishes it made choosing this location easy. I did find it funny after both my wife and I had setup to shoot the fireworks here a lady (clearly a Walt Disney World first timer) approached me and asked what we were waiting for. When I told her fireworks, she was shocked we’d be able to see them behind the restaurant until I explained the fireworks were actually launched behind here. She, like many people I assume, don’t realize just how far back the fireworks are being launched when you view them from Main Street. She quickly ran and grabbed her family who were wandering off to wait and watch the fireworks here. Not really important, I just found it mildly amusing…

My fireworks shots are something that has definitely evolved over the years from shooting without ND filters, with ND filters, with or without ND filters and bracketing shots for blending before and after. All have their ups and downs and the way I do it now is kind of a blend. For this shot I used the Nikon 14-24 2.8 along with a 7 stop ProGrey ND filter and then bracketed a series of shots at the end as well. Instead of using the bracket and just blending the fireworks into that however I lean more towards using the single fireworks shots and blending in bits and pieces from shots in the bracket. There are a couple of reasons for this. One being that when you blend the fireworks into the bracketed shot it tends to not look quite as realistic because you don’t get the reflections from the fireworks on the objects in the foreground. The second is when you shoot an area like this with a 7 stop ND even super long exposures leaves some areas dreadfully underexposes. Having the bracket allows me to fix a lot of darker areas and also then finally map in the stars over the top.

One last thing I did, which I have done for a while now is color correct Beast’s Castle. Generally the color is just an awful blue when photographed at night, however I’ve found you can fix it pretty easily using a warming color filter along with some quick curves adjustments. Its an extra step that does take a little bit of time to get just right but I think its worth the effort. Hopefully you do too. Enjoy.

Matthew Cooper